Boeing’s deceptions

By | Category: Featured

The final report commissioned by the US House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about the crashes of the Bowing 737 Max plans has appeared and it makes unpleasant reading for the airline, the regulatory authorities and we passengers.

737-MAX 8 Artwork. Image © Boeing

Readers will remember the history. Two Max’s, one operated Lion Air and the other operated by Ethiopian airlines crashed killing all those on board. In addition there have been other incidents where the plane might have crashed but for the swift action by pilots.

The 238 page report takes a bit of reading it being full of technical jargon. I skipped it and most readers will settle for just the executive summary which runs to just thirty pages and perhaps the final ten which sum up the report’s conclusions and make you wonder about the management’s morals.

Although the explicit problem was with the system which was designed to make the aircraft easier to fly, it is the way Boeing operated a cover-up and the lax regulatory control that will be longer-lasting.

Among some of the conclusions;

  •  a “desire to meet … goals and expectations (which) jeopardized the safety of the flying public.”
  • “Boeing made fundamentally faulty assumptions about critical technologies”
  • “The operation of MCAS also violated Boeing’s own internal design guidelines.”
  • “Boeing withheld crucial information from the FAA, its customers, and 737 MAX pilots.”
  •  FAA management overruled their own safety and technical experts at the behest of Boeing

The report noted;

-The FAA failed to ensure the safety of the traveling public.

 -“Costs, schedule, and production pressures at Boeing undermined safety of the 737 MAX.”

 – “Boeing failed to appropriately classify MCAS as a safety-critical system.”

 – “Boeing concealed information from the FAA, its customers, and pilots.”

 –  There was a “significant lack of transparency with the FAA, its customers, and   737 MAX pilots regarding pilot training requirements and negatively compromised safety.”

 -“Both Boeing and the FAA gambled with the public’s safety.”

The report concludes, “A name change may help confront a public relations problem, but only a genuine, holistic, and assertive commitment to changing the cultural issues unearthed in the Committee’s investigation at both Boeing and the FAA can enhance aviation safety and truly help both Boeing and the FAA learn from the dire lessons of the 737 MAX tragedies.”

Last December I posed whether the FAA which as the regulatory body overseeing Boeing was fit for purpose. This report confirms my doubts that it is unless there is a root and branch alteration to its operations and arrangements with Boeing.

I also asked whether you would fly on a Boeing again? I’m unwilling.

I hope other airline manufacturers notably Airbus, Bombardier and Embraer are not like Boeing And I hope the regulatory authorities overseeing them are much more responsible then the FAA.

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